Dear Music Lovers:

We are writing to you from our KMJF HQ with two very exciting announcements:

Mark Your Calendars for the 2017 KMJF FESTIVAL DATES:

The 2nd annual Kensington Market Jazz Festival will take place on

September 15, 16, 17, 2017.

We are proud to announce that KMJF is a registered not-for-profit, now accepting donations with gratitude to maintain our service to the music community. As an artist-run initiative, our mission statement is:

Promoting live musical excellence since 2016.

You can contribute any amount you wish at this link:


Love and Light,




(Left to Right: Mayor of Toronto John Tory; Ontario’s Minister of Education MPP Scarborough-Guildwood, The Honourable Mitzie Hunter; Principal Architest at Williamson Williamson, Betsy Williamson; Molly Johnson; Best-selling Author and Associate Professor of Journalism at Ryerson, Kamal Al-Solaylee; Artist and Co-Owner of La Banane & Chocolates X Brandon Olsen)

Get Lit is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser where a lineup of notable Canadians read from their favourite book and tell the story of how it impacted their lives. This year Molly was pleased to be a part of the fundraiser, which took place at The Berkeley Church on Queen Street on April 26. Molly’s choice was Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner with illustrations by Richard Rudnicki. To find  out more about Get Lit, visit:






The KMJF Spring Series initiative has been a joyous experience for jazz lovers. To date the streams of Robi Botos Trio and Heather Bambrick Trio’s Facebook Live streams have collectively exceeded 25,000 views worldwide, far beyond the intimate club’s 35 seats. Keep sharing!


JUST ANNOUNCED: Two dates to close the #KMJFSpring Series 2017:

Tuesday April 11: Ori Dagan Quartet with special guest Alex Pangman

Tuesday April 25: Billy Newton Davis Trio

POETRY JAZZ CAFE, 224 Augusta Avenue, Toronto

Sets at 7pm & 9pm

No Advance Tickets, Cover $20 Cash at the door

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Singer-songwriter, broadcaster, O.C. and philanthropist Molly Johnson has been hard at work in Kensington Market. Johnson conceived the inaugural Kensington Market Jazz Festival in September of 2016. Over 100 performances over 3 days & nights in 9 venues, including over 200 Toronto-based musicians who performed to sold-out houses and engaged audiences.


“There is a lot of talk of Toronto being a “Music City” and certainly in terms of talent we are there, but in New Orleans, Nashville and Austin you have music neighbourhoods, and that is why we have focused on Kensington Market, it’s the perfect live music destination.”




POETRY JAZZ CAFÉ  – 224 Augusta Avenue

Tuesday, March 14 – Alana Bridgewater Trio

Tuesday, March 21 – Robi Botos Trio

Tuesday, March 28 – Heather Bambrick Trio

Showtimes: 7-8pm and 9-10pm

10pm onward DJ Vania – Vinyl selections

$20 Cash Cover @ the door

Singer-songwriter, broadcaster, O.C. and philanthropist Molly Johnson has been hard at work in Kensington Market. Johnson conceived the inaugural Kensington Market Jazz Festival in September of 2016. Over 100 performances over 3 days & nights in 9 venues, including over 200 Toronto-based musicians who performed to sold-out houses and engaged audiences. Venues enjoyed solid crowds and steady business, which is far from the norm in a live music landscape that sees venues folding  on a weekly basis.

“I knew that the only way to do this was to keep it simple. I’m not touching money,” says Johnson. “The artists take the door and the bar keeps the bar. No tickets are pre-sold online, so music lovers have to show up to get their seat. “

“There is a lot of talk of Toronto being a “Music City” and certainly in terms of talent we are there, but in New Orleans, Nashville and Austin you have music neighbourhoods, and that is why we have focused on Kensington Market, it’s the perfect live music destination.”

After the festival, KMJF decided to keep the buzz alive with an 8-week Winter Sunday Jazz Brunch series in January and February 2016 at Trinity Common, 303 Augusta. The focus was instrumental jazz, with cover charge $12 or FREE for kids 16 and under. Artists included Jane Bunnett, Don Thompson and Mike Murley.

Coming up next, Molly & her team partner with Poetry Jazz Café (224 Augusta Avenue), an authentic jazz club in Kensington Market. Since opening 5 years ago, owner Sean Pascalle has successfully cultivated an underground following of younger patrons and devoted jazz fans alike, thanks to the club’s inviting décor, sophisticated cocktail menu and programme of young up-and-comers in the jazz scene. KMJF will present a Spring Series at Poetry featuring luminary artists on Tuesday nights from March 14 – April 25. The series will kick off in March with three exciting artists: soulful powerhouse Alana Bridgewater on March 14, JUNO-winning piano treasure Robi Botos on March 21 and this year’s JUNO nominee for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year Heather Bambrick on March 28. More artists to be announced 

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Sunday Jazz Brunch Series presented by Kensington Market Jazz Festival and Trinity Common!

Last spring, Molly Johnson teamed up with Ori Dagan and Genevieve Marentette to produce the inaugural Kensington Market Jazz Festival. #KMJF debuted in style on September 16, 17, 18, 2016 when over 200 Toronto musicians played 80 shows at 9 venues across the market. Many shows were sold out and audiences were captivated, engaged and responsive throughout the weekend.

Determined to keep the buzz of live jazz alive and well in the neighbourhood, the Kensington Market Jazz Festival and Trinity Common proudly present a selection of Toronto’s finest musicians, performing two sets of music every Sunday afternoon from 12-3pm, starting on January 8.


The location, Trinity Common (303 Augusta Avenue, just south of College) is one of the neighbourhood’s well-loved restaurants, specializing in craft beers, quality eats and live music. The lineup for January and February is as follows:

January 8 Mike Downes Trio

January 15 Jane Bunnett & Hilario Duran

January 22 Don Thompson Vibes Trio

January 29 Richard Underhill

February 5 Colleen Allen 

February 12 Alison Young

February 19 Mike Murley Trio

February 26 Kevin Barrett Group

Music Charge is $12.00, and children 16 and under FREE.

Reservations Recommended: (647) 346-3030 

Viola Desmond to be First Canadian Woman Featured on Canadian Banknote

Friday December 9, 2016 was a great day to be a Canadian. That was the day it was announced that Viola Desmond will be appearing on the Canadian $10 bill. Viola Desmond helped to launch the modern civil rights movement in Canada, thanks to her November 8, 1946 decision to sit in a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre.  After being fined and convicted, she fought her conviction and while she lost the appeal, she inspired thousands of Canadians to fight for equal rights. Sometimes called “Canada’s Rosa Parks”, it’s important to note that Viola Desmond did this nearly a decade before Rosa Parks’ historic actions in Montgomery Alabama on December 1, 1955.   viola-desmond

Kensington Market Wrapup and what’s coming up for fall!

What a blast we had at this year’s Kensington Market Jazz Festival! A huge thanks to all the musicians, venues, sponsors, and volunteers who made it happen, and an extra big thanks to YOU, our audiences who showed us that the appetite for live jazz music is alive and well in Toronto!

OMG - KMJF team of Ori Dagan, Molly Johnson, and Gigi Marentette

The Kensington Market Jazz Festival will be back next September! In the meantime, we are excited to announce that KMJF will also be producing shows and events in the market throughout the year!

Molly is also working on writing her next upcoming album. Stay tuned!

Inaugural Kensington Market Jazz Festival!

We are very excited to officially announce the Kensington Market Jazz Festival!

The inaugural festival will be taking place from Sept. 16th through 18th at venues throughout Toronto’s Kensington Market!


Find us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @KensingtonJazz and keep your eyes on for announcements on our stellar lineup.

Molly has been working very hard with Genevieve Marentette, Ori Dagan and Celine Peterson to turn this dream into a reality! Can’t wait for September!

Remembering Suzanne Johnson-Harvor: A Grandmother to Us All

By Jess Tomlin (Executive Director of The MATCH Fund) and Otis Moore (Grandson of Suzanne Johnson Harvor)

Today, Canada lost one of the most inspiring activists we have known. Suzanne Johnson Harvor (1932-2016) was a woman who gave her life to both civil rights movements and to women’s movements around the world. She was a woman who did more from her kitchen table than most of us do in a lifetime.

Working almost entirely behind the scenes, Suzanne is the woman you have never heard of who paved the way for your wildest dreams. She was ahead of her time, breaking new ground for women at the grassroots level. She raised this feminist grandson. She mentored this feminist fundraiser. She built The MATCH International Women’s Fund (known 40 years ago as MATCH International) because it was right. Because it was needed. Because, for women around the world, it was often a matter of life or death.

Rising to the challenge of the United Nations’ Decade of Women (1976-1986), Suzanne co-founded The MATCH International Women’s Fund with Dr. Norma Walmsley. Together, they quickly established a talent sharing bank for Canadian women entrepreneurs, farmers, teachers, and healthcare workers. Then they created a “switchboard operation” to connect women outside of Canada’s borders with financial resources raised entirely by Canadian women. Within the first year, Suzanne had secured 85 members from across Canada. By the next year, The MATCH International Women’s Fund was already supporting a handful of grassroots women’s groups for projects such as accessing clean water in Tanzania and building a commerce hub for female entrepreneurs in Swaziland. By the time Suzanne officially retired from the board of The MATCH Fund, the organization she had built was changing lives: ending female genital mutilation in Malian villages, supporting battered women’s shelters in India, and helping women access abortions in Peru.

But what strikes us is that The MATCH International Women’s Fund was not Suzanne’s life’s work. Rather, she co-founded The MATCH Fund late in her career. By that time, she had already launched and run the very first volunteer recruitment centre for CUSO in Toronto in the early 60s and she had spearheaded CUSO’s expansion to Kano, Nigeria. She had served on the board of International Students’ Centre, Save the Children, and the U.S.-based Student Non-Violent Committee. These projects saw her protesting alongside Coretta Scott King, setting up a shantytown for 3,000 of the nation’s poorest people on Washington D.C.’s National Mall, traveling to Haiti to work with the most disadvantaged children and, in 1975, leading the Canadian delegation to Mexico City for the first UN World Conference on Women.

The MATCH Fund is Suzanne’s gift to Canadian women. Before her death, she said, “I have always contended that Canadians have a role to play in supporting women to bring about amazing change in their communities.” So, from her kitchen table, she built this international Canadian women’s fund that, today, is still thriving thanks to her early leadership. She always meant for this work to live longer than she ever would.

Had Suzanne lived just a month more, she would have seen our completed nomination for her to receive the Order of Canada this year. While this award would have recognized the enormous contributions of a women who changed lives from behind the scenes, we know that–even in her death–Suzanne did not want to be a legend (even though she was).

Instead, she wanted the international contributions of Canadian women to be legendary.

Especially now–especially today–Suzanne would tell us to work harder than ever. She’d tell us to march for justice. To go outside of our comfort zone to do what is right. To raise hell for equality. To support each other.

Suzanne Johnson Harvor was a grandmother to us all. We mourn her death. And we will fiercely carry on her legacy.

Suzanne’s obituary can be found here.